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5 other pairings to watch at the US Open

Will TideyJune 8, 2013
Can G-Mac attack at US Open venue Merion? © Getty Images

Golf's most devoured duo, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, were always going to be drawn together at the US Open. Adam Scott's green jacket got him in on the act and all eyes will be on three men from three continents for the first two rounds at Merion.

In terms of pairings to watch, there's that one and then all the others. But that doesn't mean the others won't throw up their own intrigue. One of them may very well throw up this year's winner. Here are my 'other' groups to watch on Thursday, along with their tee times.

1. Ian Poulter, Boo Weekley, Jason Dufner - 12.55pm BST

Born-again Boo (pronounced "Booooooooo") was a winner at the Crowne Plaza Invitational and has made 13 cuts from 15 starts on the PGA Tour in 2013. Could this be the year we see an unlikely run at a major from one of golf's most unlikely stars? Ian Poulter, meanwhile, is struggling for form and will be looking for inspiration. Jason Dufner is in a similar position.

Matteo Manassero could be ready for a run at a major

2. Rickie Fowler, Matteo Manassero, Jason Day - 1.06pm BST

The obligatory young bucks group. Italy's great hope Manassero comes fresh off his win at the BMW PGA Championship, while Day will be looking to better his third-placed finish at Augusta. Fowler is due a strong run at a major - it's about time he delivered on his promise.

3. Matt Kuchar, Brandt Snedeker, Justin Rose - 12.22pm BST

American Kuchar is perhaps the hottest golfer in the world right now, having followed his runner-up finish at the Crowne Plaza with a win at the Memorial. At 34 he's entering the conversation for "best player who hasn't won a major". Rose is another in that category and has a precision game that could work at Merion. Snedeker makes it three fancied players in the same group.

4. Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Tim Clark - 12.33pm BST

This all-South African group carries its most obvious threat in Schwartzel and Oosthuizen - major winners who have both been playing consistently well all year. Could Clark be the relative old-timer (he's still only 37) who makes a charge? His accuracy off the tee makes him a potential contender at Merion, where finding fairways is vital.

Mr Steady from the tee, Jim Furyk

5. Jim Furyk, Graeme McDowell, Zach Johnson - 6.03pm BST

McDowell and Furyk are among the most accurate drivers in golf, which helps explain why both have a US Open title and makes both dangerous in Philadelphia. G-Mac's recent Volvo World Match Play triumph bodes well for his confidence also. Johnson went low at the Crowne Plaza, but doesn't typically do well at US Opens.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Writer Bio

Will has covered Tour events. majors and Ryder Cups and interviewed the likes of Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson and Rory McIlroy. He once inhaled the cigar smoke of the coolest man in golf, Miguel Angel Jimenez, while watching sports cars tear around Brands Hatch. As a left-handed hacker he's been humiliated at esteemed venues including Carnoustie, Wentworth, Kiawah Island and Pinehurst No. 2.

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